What if going abroad is the only choice….

For a rather long period I am getting now my daily entertainment updates in regard to Japan from Japan probe. Yesterday’s daily email summary presented one documentary “Mothers’ Way, Daughters’ Choice” – actually the trailer for the documentary – which truly impressed me about the open expression of the reality many Japanese women are facing. This bilingual documentary does not judge, but simply show the reality professional Japanese women are facing, which forces them to rethink their place for living.
Personally I never experienced a situation when I had been given limited choices when making a decision for my life. My vocabulary and the environment I was living never contained any statements like “as a woman I have to…”. I was always able to create the life I wanted to have. Discriminations as a woman occurred, but so seldom that it did not affect my life. On the other hand, if I had been born in Japan, I guess I would not have been able to live here on a long-term basis. As a foreign woman I am able to create a life that does not have to apply to the general Japanese societal cultural rules. Compared to local women I have more freedom for the life style I am choosing, although I still have the professional hurdle of being a foreigner in a local talent pool. Have a look at the trailer below and see by yourself the reasons why professional women’s only choice might be to go abroad.

Although I hope to see the documentary one day, my bigger wish is that the economical pressure does not force even more women abroad. Further bilingual brain drain makes Japan even more vulnerable.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

7 thoughts on “What if going abroad is the only choice….

  1. Dear Sibylee,

    I have followed your blog and always enjoyed it, but this one really made me sit back. I felt so bad for the Japanese women in the video and I know many like them in New York. I have helped many get visas and “green cards” so they can start their life in NY and stay and have always been impressed by their intelligence and professionalism.

    My wife is a Japanese artist who left Japan in her 20’s because she felt she could not develop her career the way she wanted so this is really personal to me.

    I have started a new business to introduce creative Japanese people to the U.S. and I hope I can help talented and professional women like in the video to get exposure in the U.S. and develop their careers.

    I have posted the video on my Web site and you can see it below.


    • Dear Jim,

      thank you very much for your time to comment.
      Personally I believe as the world is becoming more global, traveling and moving abroad easier, everyone has the chance and opportunity to create the life they want. If the country that you are born in is not the right place to be long term, I believe with some efforts, the whole world is open for anyone.
      All the best and good luck with everything,

      Sibylle Ito

  2. This is my first time in your blog. I arrived here via Twitter being curious of you follow and that you live in Japan. Like Dan, I also have a daughter who is about to graduate from University; she is on her third year and the reason why you post caught my attention as she may have to make some difficult choices in the near future.
    You end up with a hopeful note that economical forces do not force more women to leave Japan; and you can count me in on that desire.
    Last week I posted on my blog and entry that I ended up dividing it in two parts:” The Road Ahead is Still Dark”. It addresses the economic forces behind the talent exodus that is hollowing out this country at its roots.
    The story hovers around the fact that these days 4 out of 10 university graduates are not hired on their first attempt to join the workforce making them virtually not eligible to pursue higher paying careers… please come to my blog and follow on this story…

    • Dear Cesar,

      thank you so much for your time visiting my blog and your comment.
      Honestly I think there is no choice but being hopeful that the situation will change again in Japan. If I could not imagine a brighter future for Japan, I would be wrong to live in Tokyo. I think no one plans to build their future on a sinking ship. Yes, the situation is very tough for younger people and for many going abroad might be the sole option. I know my words cannot create professional opportunities for others, I only know for myself a detour in life can be the straightest way to have a fulfilling, happy future.
      Wishing you and your family only the very best,

      Sibylle Ito

  3. Great post. Thanks for sharing this.

    As a father of a daughter with dual nationality living in Japan, I think my role is to provide as many options as possible for her to choose from.

    You may have read it, but Mori Kyoko wrote an insightful book called “Polite Lies” about her experiences as a child growing up in Japan and then living in the US as an adult.

    • Dear Dan,

      thank you very much for taking time to visit my blog and even comment.
      I am sure you can make a huge difference for your daughter by providing her choices. Being multi-cultural will help her a lot in long term, altough it might not be always easy, because she will natuarally understand more than one cultural based life style.

      Wishing you and your family only the very best,

      Sibylle Ito

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